Category Archives: IQ

A junk food diet in early years slightly decreases IQ

This has been all over the news this week.

Are dietary patterns in childhood associated with IQ at 8 years of age? A population-based cohort study

Background Little is known about the effects of overall diet in childhood and intelligence later in life.

Methods The current study, based on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, uses data on children’s diet reported by parents in food-frequency questionnaires at 3, 4, 7 and 8.5 years of age. Dietary patterns were identified using principal-components analysis and scores computed at each age. IQ was assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children at 8.5 years. Data on a number of confounders were collected, and complete data were available for 3966 children.

Results After adjustment, the ‘processed’ (high fat and sugar content) pattern of diet at 3 years of age was negatively associated with IQ assessed at 8.5 years of age—a 1 SD increase in dietary pattern score was associated with a 1.67 point decrease in IQ (95% CI −2.34 to −1.00; p<0.0001). The ‘health-conscious’ (salad, rice, pasta, fish, fruit) pattern at 8.5 years was positively associated with IQ: a 1 SD increase in pattern score led to a 1.20 point increase in IQ (95% CI 0.52 to 1.88; p=0.001).

Conclusion There is evidence that a poor diet associated with high fat, sugar and processed food content in early childhood may be associated with small reductions in IQ in later childhood, while a healthy diet, associated with high intakes of nutrient rich foods described at about the time of IQ assessment may be associated with small increases in IQ.

I suspect the issue isn’t the fat, or even the sugar, but low levels of nutrients like omega three oils, vitamins and minerals. This whole study has a slight ‘duh’ quality to it, although I was surprised it made as little difference to the final IQ as it did. I’m glad now that I got my kids to eat all that homemeade fish pie.

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Genes account for 50% of classroom performance.

News of the day; your genes have a strong effect on how you perform at school. Not exactly shocking.

Added Value Measures in Education Show Genetic as Well as Environmental Influence

Does achievement independent of ability or previous attainment provide a purer measure of the added value of school? In a study of 4000 pairs of 12-year-old twins in the UK, we measured achievement with year-long teacher assessments as well as tests. Raw achievement shows moderate heritability (about 50%) and modest shared environmental influences (25%). Unexpectedly, we show that for indices of the added value of school, genetic influences remain moderate (around 50%), and the shared (school) environment is less important (about 12%). The pervasiveness of genetic influence in how and how much children learn is compatible with an active view of learning in which children create their own educational experiences in part on the basis of their genetic propensities.

This is a massive study, involving  8,000 children  both MZ and DZ twins. An interesting snippet from it…

Previous twin studies on school performance have indicated moderate heritability around 40–60% [10], [11], [12], [13]. Studies specifically focusing on reading abilities show a similar pattern of results with moderate to high heritability and modest shared environmental influences [14], [15]. More recently, studies have also included mathematical abilities, which typically show high heritabilities around 60–70% [16], [17]. A striking finding is that genetic influences appear to have largely generalist effects across diverse cognitive and academic abilities [18], [19]. For example, the average genetic correlation (an index of the degree to which genetic influences on one trait also influence another trait) between diverse cognitive and academic domains was 0.70 in a recent review.

I’d like to say from personal observation.. the parents of the better performing kids at my own children’s school are almost uniformly from a higher than average SES group; the ‘nice’ parents, while the those struggling mainly seem to be the children of the underclass. My own little darlings are (I risk being snobbish) both a couple of years ahead of the norm, which matches very well with both my partner and I being in the tiny ‘top’ group at our school, and both being able to read at a pre school age. Really, it would be surprising if there wasn’t a genetic component to classroom performance, as IQ is substantially inherited, as are behavioural conditions like ADHD.

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The ‘Flynn effect’ is caused by nutrition

Or at least, it is according to Professor Lynn. The Flynn effect is the rise in IQ that was observed over the twentieth century, mostly in developed nations, as the overall standard of living improved. It stabilised in Europe in the eighties, but in places like East Asia it is still rising as the countries modernise.

What has caused the Flynn effect? Secular increases in the Development Quotients of infants

Richard Lynn,

University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, BT52 1SA, UK

Received 23 March 2008;  revised 17 July 2008;  accepted 17 July 2008.  Available online 21 September 2008.

Abstract
Results of five studies show that during the second half of the twentieth century there were increases in the Development Quotients (DQs) of infants in the first two years of life. These gains were obtained for the Bayley Scales in the United States and Australia, and for the Griffiths Test in Britain. The average of 19 data points is a DQ gain of approximately 3.7 DQ points per decade. Similar gains of approximately 3.9 IQ points per decade have been present among preschool children aged 4–6 years. These gains are about the same as the IQ gains of school age students and adults on the Wechsler and Binet tests. This suggests that the same factor has been responsible for all these secular gains. This rules out improvements in education, greater test sophistication, etc. and most of the other factors that have been proposed to explain the Flynn effect. It is proposed that the most probable factor has been improvements in pre-natal and early post-natal nutrition.

Prior to the modern era, Victorians were four inches shorter than the current population, and the IQ was thirty points lower. It would seem reasonable that both increases were proved by a combination of improved nutrition and health care. The greatest IQ rises were seen in the lowest IQ ranges, suggesting that the welfare state, in the UK at least, has contributed to our being geniuses compared to our great grandparents.

The IQ rise has only been observed in our ‘fluid’ intelligence, AKA our reasoning abilities. Our memory seems to have been unaffected by the rise in IQ. I suppose this could mean that as a species learning is a lot more important than reasoning, so our resources are directed towards constructing our memory fully before our problem solving wiring is even begun.

 

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IQ, race and assortive mating.

I’ve had an idea to do with race and IQ that’s to do with assortive mating.

The average IQ of people with one black and one white parent in the USA is in between the averages for both groups. I keep seeing this put down to white parent IQ 100+black parent IQ 85=185/2= IQ of 92.5 for the mixed race child.

But that’s not how people work

There’s something called ‘assortive mating’, where someone will seek out a like individual to pair up with, and the most matched trait in couples (more so than political views, education or physical attractiveness) is IQ. Generally it will be put down as similar interests/same sense of humour/educational level. But really, to understand your life-mate properly you have to think on the same level as them. It’s uncommon to see a couple with an IQ more than six points apart.

This brings us to racial diffences in IQ.

This bell curve, that I have shamelessly swiped from Wikipedia, is a good visual aid for this. The orange pointed are in the middle is where most of the overlap in IQ occurs, and the IQ range of 90 to 95 seems to be where the most overlap between the two groups occurs. So black people on the higher end of their groups IQ range, will actually have more chance of meeting a European with a similar IQ: the higher the black genius’s IQ, the more likely it will that any prospective equals he meets will be white. Particularly as white strongly outnumber black Americans. There is a trend for degree educated black Americans to marry inter-racially.

Add this together with a tendency for successful black American men to marry white women, and you’ve got a trend where the most intelligent black people are distancing their offspring from their parent group. I really don’t think intermarriage has made any positive impact on the IQ of black Americans at all, I think it has had a mildly negative impact if anything.

What this means is that European ancestry doesn’t mean a higher IQ for the mixed kid, it’s black parent was probably roughly that smart; they were just more likely to meet a white mate with a matching IQ than their black friends were.  What thoes does mean is that intermarriage won’t solve the problem very fast, you’ll just end up with the middle and upper IQ ranges  getting more European DNA in them, and the lower range being marked out by their African appearance. Not a thought to induce racial harmony in the future.

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What the average psychologist really thinks about race and IQ.

I mean, the average psychologist on the street.

Last year when the whole Watson fiasco hit the fan, I found myself patiently explaining to my outraged relatives that there was actually an IQ gap, and showing them the signed statement to that effect that was recognised by mainstream psychologists.

Dec. 13, 1994 Wall Street Journal p A18

Mainstream Science on Intelligence

Since the publication of “The Bell Curve,” many commentators have offered opinions about human intelligence that misstate current scientific evidence. Some conclusions dismissed in the media as discredited are actually firmly supported.

This statement outlines conclusions regarded as mainstream among researchers on intelligence, in particular, on the nature, origins, and practical consequences of individual and group differences in intelligence. Its aim is to promote more reasoned discussion of the vexing phenomenon that the research has revealed in recent decades. The following conclusions are fully described in the major textbooks, professional journals and encyclopedias in intelligence.

The Meaning and Measurement of Intelligence

Intelligence is a very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings–“catching on,” “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do.

Intelligence, so defined, can be measured, and intelligence tests measure it well. They are among the most accurate (in technical terms, reliable and valid) of all psychological tests and assessments. They do not measure creativity, character personality, or other important differences among individuals, nor are they intended to.

While there are different types of intelligence tests, they all measure the same intelligence. Some use words or numbers and require specific cultural knowledge (like vocabulary). Others do not, and instead use shapes or designs and require knowledge of only simple, universal concepts (many/few, open/closed, up/down).

The spread of people along the IQ continuum, from low to high, can be represented well by the bell curve (in statistical jargon, the “normal curve”). Most people cluster around the average (IQ 100). Few are either very bright or very dull: About 3% of Americans score above IQ 130 (often considered the threshold for “giftedness”), with about the same percentage below IQ 70 (IQ 70-75 often being considered the threshold for mental retardation).

Intelligence tests are not culturally biased against American blacks or other native-born, English-speaking peoples in the U.S. Rather, IQ scores predict equally accurately for all such Americans, regardless of race and social class. Individuals who do not understand English well can be given either a nonverbal test or one in their native language.

The brain processes underlying intelligence are still little understood. Current research looks, for example, at speed of neural transmission, glucose (energy) uptake, and electrical activity of the brain, uptake, and electrical activity of the brain.
Group Differences

Members of all racial-ethnic groups can be found at every IQ level. The bell curves of different groups overlap considerably, but groups often differ in where their members tend to cluster along the IQ line. The bell curves for some groups (Jews and East Asians) are centered somewhat higher than for whites in general. Other groups (blacks and Hispanics) are centered somewhat lower than non-Hispanic whites.

The bell curve for whites is centered roughly around IQ 100; the bell curve for American blacks roughly around 85; and those for different subgroups of Hispanics roughly midway between those for whites and blacks. The evidence is less definitive for exactly where above IQ 100 the bell curves for Jews and Asians are centered.
Practical Importance

IQ is strongly related, probably more so than any other single measurable human trait, to many important educational, occupational, economic, and social outcomes. Its relation to the welfare and performance of individuals is very strong in some arenas in life (education, military training), moderate but robust in others (social competence), and modest but consistent in others (law-abidingness). Whatever IQ tests measure, it is of great practical and social importance.

A high IQ is an advantage in life because virtually all activities require some reasoning and decision-making. Conversely, a low IQ is often a disadvantage, especially in disorganized environments. Of course, a high IQ no more guarantees success than a low IQ guarantees failure in life. There are many exceptions, but the odds for success in our society greatly favor individuals with higher IQs.

The practical advantages of having a higher IQ increase as life settings become more complex (novel, ambiguous, changing, unpredictable, or multifaceted). For example, a high IQ is generally necessary to perform well in highly complex or fluid jobs (the professions, management): it is a considerable advantage in moderately complex jobs (crafts, clerical and police work); but it provides less advantage in settings that require only routine decision making or simple problem solving (unskilled work).

Differences in intelligence certainly are not the only factor affecting performance in education, training, and highly complex jobs (no one claims they are), but intelligence is often the most important. When individuals have already been selected for high (or low) intelligence and so do not differ as much in IQ, as in graduate school (or special education), other influences on performance loom larger in comparison.

Certain personality traits, special talents, aptitudes, physical capabilities, experience, and the like are important (sometimes essential) for successful performance in many jobs, but they have narrower (or unknown) applicability or “transferability” across tasks and settings compared with general intelligence. Some scholars choose to refer to these other human traits as other “intelligences.”
Source and Stability of Within-Group Differences

Individuals differ in intelligence due to differences in both their environments and genetic heritage. Heritability estimates range from 0.4 to 0.8 (on a scale from 0 to 1), most thereby indicating that genetics plays a bigger role than does environment in creating IQ differences among individuals. (Heritability is the squared correlation of phenotype with genotype.) If all environments were to become equal for everyone, heritability would rise to 100% because all remaining differences in IQ would necessarily be genetic in origin.

Members of the same family also tend to differ substantially in intelligence (by an average of about 12 IQ points) for both genetic and environmental reasons. They differ genetically because biological brothers and sisters share exactly half their genes with each parent and, on the average, only half with each other. They also differ in IQ because they experience different environments within the same family.

That IQ may be highly heritable does not mean that it is not affected by the environment. Individuals are not born with fixed, unchangeable levels of intelligence (no one claims they are). IQs do gradually stabilize during childhood, however, and generally change little thereafter.

Although the environment is important in creating IQ differences, we do not know yet how to manipulate it to raise low IQs permanently. Whether recent attempts show promise is still a matter of considerable scientific debate.

Genetically caused differences are not necessarily irremediable (consider diabetes, poor vision, and phenal keton uria), nor are environmentally caused ones necessarily remediable (consider injuries, poisons, severe neglect, and some diseases). Both may be preventable to some extent.
Source and Stability of Between-Group Differences

There is no persuasive evidence that the IQ bell curves for different racial-ethnic groups are converging. Surveys in some years show that gaps in academic achievement have narrowed a bit for some races, ages, school subjects and skill levels, but this picture seems too mixed to reflect a general shift in IQ levels themselves.

Racial-ethnic differences in IQ bell curves are essentially the same when youngsters leave high school as when they enter first grade. However, because bright youngsters learn faster than slow learners, these same IQ differences lead to growing disparities in amount learned as youngsters progress from grades one to 12. As large national surveys continue to show, black 17- year-olds perform, on the average, more like white 13-year-olds in reading, math, and science, with Hispanics in between.

The reasons that blacks differ among themselves in intelligence appear to be basically the same as those for why whites (or Asians or Hispanics) differ among themselves. Both environment and genetic heredity are involved.

There is no definitive answer to why IQ bell curves differ across racial-ethnic groups. The reasons for these IQ differences between groups may be markedly different from the reasons for why individuals differ among themselves within any particular group (whites or blacks or Asians). In fact, it is wrong to assume, as many do, that the reason why some individuals in a population have high IQs but others have low IQs must be the same reason why some populations contain more such high (or low) IQ individuals than others. Most experts believe that environment is important in pushing the bell curves apart, but that genetics could be involved too.

Racial-ethnic differences are somewhat smaller but still substantial for individuals from the same socioeconomic backgrounds. To illustrate, black students from prosperous families tend to score higher in IQ than blacks from poor families, but they score no higher, on average, than whites from poor families.

Almost all Americans who identify themselves as black have white ancestors-the white admixture is about 20%, on average–and many self-designated whites, Hispanics, and others likewise have mixed ancestry. Because research on intelligence relies on self- classification into distinct racial categories, as does most other social-science research, its findings likewise relate to some unclear mixture of social and biological distinctions among groups (no one claims otherwise).
Implications for Social Policy

The research findings neither dictate nor preclude any particular social policy, because they can never determine our goals. They can, however, help us estimate the likely success and side-effects of pursuing those goals via different means.
The following professors-all experts in intelligence an allied fields-have signed this statement:
Richard D. Arvey,  University of Minnesota Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr., University of Minnesota John B. Carroll,  U.N.C. at Chapel Hill, Raymond B. Cattell,  University of Hawaii ,David B. Cohen, U.T. at Austin Rene W. Dawis, University of Minnesota Douglas K. Detterman, Case Western Reserve U.Marvin Dunnette,University of Minnesota Hans Eysenck,  University of London Jack Feldman,  Georgia Institute of Technology Edwin A. Fleishman, George Mason University Grover C. Gilmore,  Case Western Reserve U.Robert A. Gordon,   Johns Hopkins University Linda S. Gottfredsen, University of Delaware Richard J. Haier,  U.C. Irvine
Garrett Hardin,U.C. Berkeley Robert Hogan,University of Tulsa Joseph M. Horn,  U.T. at Austin Lloyd G. Humphreys, U.Ill. at Champaign-Urbana John E. Hunter,  Michigan State University Seymour W. Itzkoff,Smith College Douglas N. Jackson, U. of Western Ontario James J. Jenkins,  U. of South Florida Arthur R. Jensen,  U.C. Berkeley Alan S. Kaufman, University of Alabama Nadeen L. Kaufman, Cal. School of Prof. Pshch., S.D.Timothy Z. Keith, Alfred University Nadine Lambert,U.C. Berkeley John C. Loehlin, U.T. at Austin David Lubinski, Iowa State University David T. Lykken, University of Minnesota Richard Lynn, University of Ulster at Coleraine Paul E. Meehl, University of Minnesota R. Travis Osborne, University of Georgia Robert Perloff,          University of Pittsburg Robert Plomin, Institute of Psychiatry, London Cecil R. Reynolds        Texas A&M University David C. Rowe University of Arizona J. Philippe Rushton  U. of Western Ontario Vincent Sarich,  U.C. BerkeleySandra Scarr,  University of Virginia Frank L. Schmidt         University of Iowa Lyle F. Schoenfeldt, Texas A&M University James C. Sharf,George Washington University Julian C. Stanley, Johns Hopkins University Del Theissen,  U.T. at Austin Lee A. Thompson,Case Western Reserve U.Robert M. Thorndike, Western Washington University Philip Anthony Vernon, U. of Western Ontario Lee Willerman

 It was actually quite amusing watching the media trying to tip toe around the well known fact that black Americans IQ’s are about 20 points lower than Asian Americans. Also, most people think that IQ tests have been shown to be meaningless and not a good measure of intelligence, probably due to Gould being promoted as ‘right’. Which is strange, since among Goulds qualifications, I don’t recall seeing a psychology degree.

Upon a scan through the WIki item on IQ and race (hey, I needed to find the name of something) I found an interesting study on how the media reports on matters to do with IQ and race, called the Snyderman and Rothman study. It was carried out in 1987, surveying 1,020 scholars in specialties that would give them reason to be knowledgeable about IQ. The report stated…

This is perhaps the central question in the IQ controversy. Respondents were asked to express their opinion of the role of genetic differences in the black-white IQ differential. Forty-five percent believe the difference to be a product of both genetic and environmental variation, compared to only 15% who feel the difference is entirely due to environmental variation. Twenty-four percent of experts do not believe there are sufficient data to support any reasonable opinion, and 14% did not respond to the question. Eight experts (1%) indicate a belief in an entirely genetic determination.

Interestingly, the respondents placed themselves as slightly left wing politically. The study claimed that the media misrepresented the views of the mainstream scientists (as it does with race). It put forward the views of people like Gould as the mainstream (ie; no such thing as race, g is meaningless, no racial differences in IQ) but claimed people like Jensen were a minority, when they were actually the mainstream.

Also interesting, in a similar vein, was that in the nineties when polled, 65% of anthropologists supported race as a concept, but  the media resolutely insisted that they claimed the opposite. Probably because the American anthropological society released a statement saying ‘there’s no such thing as race’ around the same time. I’m guessing, politics was driving that statement.

My biggest argument against it ‘all being environment’ is that semi-literate malnourished Asian peasants score better than black Americans. What environmental argument can account for that?

Anyway, here is a letter from Linda Gottfredson (renowned and respected psychologist), who wrote on the subject.

Egalitarian fiction and collective fraud.

Linda S. Gottfredson
Society, March-April 1994 v31 n3 p53(7)

Linda S. Gottfredson is professor of educational studies at the University of Delaware and co-director of the Project for the Study of Intelligence and Society. She has published widely on fairness in testing and racial inequality, focusing most recently on race-norming and the dilemmas in managing workforce diversity. Her current work examines social policy based on the egalitarian fiction.

Social science today condones and perpetuates a great falsehood – one that undergirds much current social policy. This falsehood, or “egalitarian fiction,” holds that racial-ethnic groups never differ in average developed intelligence (or, in technical terms, g, the general mental ability factor). While scientists have not yet determined their source, the existence of sometimes large group differences in intelligence is as well-established as any fact in the social sciences. How and why then is this falsehood perpetrated on the public? What part do social scientists themselves play, deliberately or inadvertently, in creating and maintaining it? Are some of them involved in what might be termed “collective fraud?” Intellectual dishonesty among scientists and scholars is, of course, nothing new. But watchdogs of scientific integrity have traditionally focused on dishonesty of individual scientists, while giving little attention to the ways in which collectivities of scientists, each knowingly shaving or shading the truth in small but similar ways, have perpetuated frauds on the scientific community and the public at large. Perhaps none of the individuals involved in the egalitarian fiction could be accused of fraud in the usual sense of the term. Indeed, I would be the first to say that, like other scientists, most of these scholars are generally honest. Yet, their seemingly minor distortions, untruths, evasions, and biases collectively produce and maintain a witting falsehood. Accordingly, my concern here is to explore the social process by which many otherwise honest scholars facilitate, or feel compelled to endorse, a scientific lie.

The Egalitarian Fiction
It is impossible here to review the voluminous evidence showing that racial-ethnic differences in intelligence are the rule rather than the exception (some groups performing better than whites and others worse), and that the well-documented black-white gap is especially striking. All groups span the continuum of intelligence, but some groups contain greater proportions of individuals that are either gifted or dull than others. Three facts regarding these group differences are of particular importance here for together they contradict the claim that there are no meaningful group differences. Racial-ethnic differences in intelligence are real. The large average group differences in mental test scores in the United States do not result from test bias, which is minuscule overall, as even a National Academy of Science panel concluded in 1982. Moreover, intelligence and aptitude tests measure general mental abilities, such as reasoning and problem solving, not merely accumulated bits of knowledge – and thus tap what experts and laymen alike view as “intelligence.”

Regardless of how we choose to construe them, differences in intelligence are of great practical importance. Overall they predict performance in school and on the job better than any other single attribute or condition we have been able to measure. Intelligence certainly is not the only factor that affects performance, but higher levels of intelligence greatly increase people’s odds of success in many life settings. Group disparities in intelligence are stubborn. Although individuals fluctuate somewhat in intelligence during their lives, differences among groups seem quite stable. The average black-white difference, for example, which appears by age six, has remained at about 18 Stanford-Binet IQ points since it was first measured in large national samples over seventy years ago. It is not clear yet why the disparities among groups are so stubborn – the reasons could be environmental, genetic, or a combination of both – but so far they have resisted attempts to narrow them. Although these facts may seem surprising, most experts on intelligence believe them to be true but few will acknowledge their truth publicly.

Misrepresentation of Expert Opinion
The 1988 book The IQ Controversy: The Media and Public Policy by psychologist-lawyer Mark Snyderman and political scientist Stanley Rothman provides strong evidence that the general public receives a highly distorted view of opinion among “IQ experts.” In essence, say Snyderman and Rothman, accounts in major national newspapers, newsmagazines, and television reports have painted a portrait of expert opinion that leaves the impression that “the majority of experts in the field believe it is impossible to adequately define intelligence, that intelligence tests do not measure anything that is relevant to life performance, and that they are biased against minorities, primarily blacks and Hispanics, as well as against the poor.” However, say the authors, the survey of experts revealed quite the opposite: On the whole, scholars with any expertise in the area of intelligence and intelligence testing … share a common view of [what constitute] the most important components of intelligence, and are convinced that [intelligence] can be measured with some degree of accuracy. An overwhelming majority also believe that individual genetic inheritance contributes to variations in IQ within the white community, and a smaller majority express the same view about the black-white and SES [socioeconomic] differences in IQ.

Unfortunately, such wholesale misrepresentation of expert opinion is not limited to the field of intelligence, as Rothman has shown in parallel studies of other policy-related fields such as nuclear energy or environmental cancer research. However, the study of IQ experts revealed something quite surprising. Most experts’ private opinions mirrored the conclusions of psychologist Arthur Jensen, whom the media have consistently painted as extreme and marginal for holding precisely those views. As Snyderman and Rothman point out, the experts disclosed their agreement with this “controversial” and putatively marginal position only under cover of anonymity. No one, not even Jensen himself, had any inkling that his views now defined the mainstream of expert belief. Although Jensen regularly received private expressions of agreement, he and others had been, as Snyderman and Rothman note, widely castigated by the expert community for expressing some of those views.

Several decades ago, most experts, among them even Jensen, believed many of the views that the media now wrongly describe as mainstream – for example, that cultural bias accounts for the large black-white differences in mental test scores. While the private consensus among IQ experts has shifted to meet Jensen’s “controversial” views, the public impression of their views has not moved at all. Indeed, the now-refuted claim that tests are hopelessly biased is treated as a truism in public life today. The shift in private, if not public, beliefs among IQ experts is undoubtedly a response to the overwhelming weight of evidence which has accumulated in recent decades on die reality and practical importance of racial-ethnic differences in intelligence. This shift is by all indications a begrudging one, and certainly no flight into “racism.”

Snyderman and Rothman found that as many IQ experts as journalists and science editors (two out of three) agreed with the statement that “strong affirmative action measures should be used in hiring to assure black representation.” Fully 63 percent of the IQ experts described themselves as liberal politically, 17 percent as middle of the road, and 20 percent as conservative – not much different than the results for journalists (respectively, 64, 21, and 16 percent). Moreover, as Snyderman and Rothman suggest (and as is consistent with personal accounts by Jensen and others), many of the surveyed experts, while agreeing with Jensen’s conclusions, may disapprove of his expressing these conclusions openly. Consistent with this, when queried about their respect for the work of fourteen individuals who have written about intelligence or intelligence testing, the IQ experts rated Jensen only above the widely but apparently unjustly) vilified Cyril Burt. Despite the fact that most agreed with Jensen, they rated him far lower than often like-minded psychometricians who had generally stayed clear of the fray. Jensen even received significantly lower ratings than his vocal critics, such as psychologist Leon Kamin, whose scientific views are marginal by the experts’ own conclusions. By contrast, the experts in environmental cancer research behaved as one would expect; they gave higher reputational ratings to peers who are closer to the mainstream than to high-profile critics. Snyderman’s and Rothman’s findings therefore suggest that a high proportion of experts are misrepresenting their beliefs or are keeping silent in the face of a public falsehood. It is no wonder that the public remains misinformed on this issue.

Living Within a Lie
IQ experts feel enormous pressure to “live within a lie,” to use a phrase by Czech writer and leader Vaclav Havel characterizing daily life under communist rule n Eastern Europe. Havel argued, in The Power of the Powerless, that, by living a lie, ordinary citizens were complicit in their own tyranny. Every greengrocer, every clerk who agreed to display official slogans not reflecting his own beliefs, or who voted in elections known to be farcical, or who feigned agreement at political meetings, normalized falsification and tightened the regime’s grip on thought. Each individual who lived the lie, who capitulated to “ideological pseudo-reality,” became a petty instrument of the regime. As many commentators have noted, Americans may not speak certain truths about racial matters today. To adapt a phrase, there is a “structured silence.”

Social scientists had already begun subordinating scientific norms to political preferences and creating much of our current pseudo-reality on race by the mid-1960s. Sociologist Eleanor Wolf, in a 1972 article in Race, for example, detailed her distress at how fellow social scientists were misusing research data to support particular positions on civil rights policy: presenting inconclusive data as if it were decisive; lacking candor about “touchy” subjects (such as the undesirable behavior of lower-class students); blurring or shaping definitions (segregation, discrimination, racism) to suit “propagandistic” purposes; making exaggerated claims about the success of favored policies (compensatory education and school integration) while minimizing or ignoring contrary evidence. As a result, social science and social policy are now dominated by the theory that discrimination accounts for all racial disparities in achievements and well-being. This theory collapses, however, if deprived of the egalitarian fiction, as does the credibility of much current social policy. Neither could survive intact if their central premise were scrutinized.

No wonder, then, that IQ researchers find themselves under great professional and institutional pressure to avoid not only engaging in such scrutiny but even appearing to countenance it. The scrutiny itself must be discredited; the egalitarian fiction must be raised above serious scientific question. Scientists must at least appear to believe the dogma. As was the case in Havel’s communist-dominated Eastern Europe, in American academe feigned belief in the official version of reality is maintained largely by routine obeisance of academics as they pursue their own ambitions.

Scholars realize their scholarly ambitions primarily through other scholars. Peer recognition is the currency of academic and scientific life. It is crucial to a scholarly reputation and all the steps toward status and success – publications, professional invitations and awards, promotion, tenure, grants, fellowships, election to professional office, appointment to prestigious panels. One’s ability even to carry out certain kinds of research, funded or not, may be contingent upon peer recognition and respect – for instance, getting collaborators, subjects, or cooperation from potential research sites. Just as in personal life, a high professional reputation depends upon a sustained history of “appropriate” behavior, and it may be irreparably damaged by hints of scandal or impropriety. Similarly, the reputations of scientists and their organizations are enhanced or degraded by those for whom they show regard and approval. Associating oneself with highly regarded individuals or ideas enhances, even if slightly, one’s own status.

Awarding an honor to a luminary can enhance the reputation of one’s own organization, especially if the recipient accepts the honor with genuine appreciation. By the same token, one risks “staining” one’s reputation by associating with, honoring, defending, or even failing to condemn the “wrong” sort of individual or idea. In short, how one gives or withholds one’s regard is important for one’s professional reputation because it affects the regard one receives. Such a social system enhances the integrity of science and is furthered by personal ambition when the members of the community base their regard on scholarly norms, such as competence, creativity, and intellectual rigor. However, such a system breeds intellectual corruption when members systematically subordinate scientific norms to other considerations – money, politics, religion, fear. This is what appears to be happening today in the social sciences on matters of race and intelligence. As sociologist Robert Gordon argues, social science has become “one-party science.”

Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, virtually all American intellectuals publicly adhere to, if not espouse, the egalitarian fiction. And many demonstrate their party loyalty by enforcing the fiction in myriad small ways in their academic routine, say, by off-handedly dismissing racial differences in intelligence as “a racist claim, of course,” criticizing authors for “blaming the victim,” or discouraging students and colleagues from doing “sensitive” research. One can feel the gradient of collective alarm and disapproval like a deepening chill as one approaches the forbidden area. Researchers who cross the line occasionally face overt censorship, or calls for it. For example, one prominent (neoconservative) editor rejected an author’s paper, despite finding it scientifically sound, because there are social “considerations” which “overweigh the claims of social science.” Another eminent editor, after asking an author to soften the discussion in his article, recently published the revised paper with an editorial postscript admonishing scientists in the field to find a “balance” between the need for free exchange of research results on intelligence and the (presumably comparable) “need” that “no segment of our society. . .feel threatened” by it.

Covert and Overt Censorship
Whether motivated by a sincere concern over supposedly “dangerous” ideas or by a desire to distance themselves publicly from unpopular ideas, editors who use such non-academic standards discourage candor and stifle debate. They deaden social science by choking off one source of the genuine differences of opinion that are its lifeblood. Overt censorship of research is uncommon, probably because it is an obvious affront to academic norms. Less striking forms of censorship directly affect many more academics, however, and so may be more important. Easier to practice without detection and to disguise as “academic judgment,” they serve to keep scholars from pursuing ideas that might undermine the egalitarian dogma.

A less obvious form of censorship, which has become somewhat common recently, is indirect censorship. It is accomplished when academic or scientific organizations approve some views but repudiate or burden others on ideological grounds. Sometimes the ideological grounds are explicit Campus speech codes are a well-known example which, had they been upheld in the courts, would have made repudiation of the egalitarian fiction a punishable offense on some campuses. The earlier (unsuccessful) attempt to include possible “offense to minority communities” as grounds for refusing human subjects approval is another example.

Gordon reports yet others, including the National Institutes of Health’s new extra layer of review for politically “sensitive” grant proposals and the University of Delaware’s recent policy (reversed by a national arbitrator) of banning a particular funding source because, so the university claimed, it supports research on race which “conflicts with the university’s mission to promote racial and cultural diversity.” Gordon also outlines in detail – as political scientist Jan Blits has done – the covert application of ideological standards to facilitate expression of some views but burden others. This form of indirect censorship, also falling under the rubric of “political correctness,” occurs when university administrators, faculty, or officers of professional associations disguise as “professional judgment” an ideological bias in their enforcing of organizational rules, extending faculty privileges, protecting faculty rights, and weighing evidence in faculty promotions and grievances.

Recently, some American universities have invoked “professional judgment” as a pretext for reclassifying “controversial” scholarly publications in their annual merit reviews as “non-research,” to misrepresent outside peer reviews in evaluating controversial professionals up for promotion, and to limit student access to these professors. Such thinly veiled bias publicly demonstrates the officials’ own adherence to the prescribed institutional attitudes and their willingness to enforce them, not only protecting those officials from protest but also encouraging fellow members of the institution to toe the line.

Covert censorship is far more common than overt or indirect censorship. It consists of bias in the application of scientific norms when reviewers evaluate their peers’ work for funding, publication, presentation, or dissemination. Individual ideological biases are found in all fields, of course, but the hope is that such biases remain small and will cancel each other out over the long run-hence the importance of a free and open exchange of data, theories, and results. What I have in mind is systematic bias and a pervasive double standard which impedes one line of research and accords another undeserved hegemony. In one-party science, the disfavored line of work is subjected to intense scrutiny and nearly impossible standards, while the favored line of work is held to lax standards in which flaws are overlooked (called “oversight bias” in the psychological literature). Similarly, the disfavored idea is rejected unless it is “balanced” by including proponents of the favored view (even if that view is the equivalent of “flat-earth theory”), where the favored line of work is readily accepted for publication or presentation, even when it totally ignores the opposing literature. Getting a controversial paper accepted under such circumstances often becomes a test of endurance between the editor and reviewers (in coming up with criticisms) and the author (in rebutting them). Submitting IQ research or grant proposals outside the narrowest professional confines exposes intelligence researchers to yet other biases, usually of the kind to which reviewers of the proposals will accept no rebuttal.

The broader circle of critics in the social sciences often implicitly dismisses the legitimacy of research on intelligence itself by arguing that “intelligence” is undefinable or unmeasurable – as if the critics’ own favored constructs (social class, culture, self-concept, anxiety, and so on) were as well validated and operationalized. Others now also seek to deny IQ researchers (but not themselves) use of the concept “race” because, they assert, race is not a biological condition, but is socially constructed. The double standards can even ricochet back and forth, depending on the particular question being considered. Gordon recalls how sociologists failed to criticize sociologist James Coleman for omitting student ability from his analyses of school integration (which led to overstating the impact of integrated schools on black achievement-for sociologists a favorable outcome), but how they criticized him roundly for the very same omission in analyses of private versus public schools,(which led to overstating the impact of private schools on black achievement – an unfavorable outcome). In short, in one-party science, scientific regard flows like political patronage to loyal and active party members, who can demonstrate their loyalty by being alert to hints of dissidence. Like all one-party political systems, one-party science becomes intellectually corrupt and arrogant as it gains confidence in its power.

The most insidious corruption to which one-party science leads is pervasive self-censorship, what involved researchers generally prefer to regard as “prudence” or “avoiding unnecessary trouble.” Coleman has drawn particular attention to the problem of “self-suppression “the impulse not to ask the crucial question” – in research on race. In an example from his own research for the influential “Coleman Report,” he describes his failure to conduct important analyses that might have produced embarrassing findings about the abilities of black teachers. Another way of avoiding unwanted results is to ignore certain data, subjects, or variables. Or unwanted results can be omitted, buried in footnotes, explained away, or simply ignored in one’s conclusions. The most subtle form of self-censorship is deliberate avoidance of making crucial connections, or denying them. Psychologist Richard Herrnstein has noted that it was his drawing out the implications of one such connection, namely, that some portion of (white) social class differences in intelligence is genetic, that sparked his public excoriation in the 1970s.

Normally, scholars are eager to explicate illuminating connections between subspecialties. They are reluctant to do so, however, when these connections put in question the egalitarian dogma on race. Virtually all sociologists and economists ignore the literature on intelligence despite its central importance to core issues in their disciplines, such as inequalities in occupation and income. Researchers in the various subfields of intelligence obviously cannot ignore the literature with impunity. Yet they, too, often prefer to stay strictly within the confines of their specialties rather than making crucial, but unpopular, connections, or they use language that obscures what otherwise would be quite obvious.

Many psychometricians, especially those working for large testing organizations, avoid referring to “intelligence” and often seem reluctant to say much about the practical or theoretical meaning of the racial differences they observe on unbiased tests. But even remaining within one’s subfield is often not enough, for the field of intelligence itself is widely suspect. Hence some scholars explicitly disavow unpopular connections that critics might attribute to them. For example, they will argue in favor of the importance of intelligence for scholastic performance but then assure their readers, over-optimistically, that the racial gap “seems to be closing rapidly.” The tenor of these preemptive disclaimers is clear. While researchers in any field may lightly dismiss the credibility of key connections regarding race and intelligence, no one ever lightly endorses their credibility with impunity. Even those of us committed to candor are exceedingly cautious when expressing informed opinions on certain topics, especially the genetics of race. Thus, publicly stated opinions of researchers about matters outside their subfields tend in one direction – to dispute or undercut the facts necessary for toppling the egalitarian fiction. What may be tolerable behavior at the individual level becomes intolerable bias at the aggregate level. Censorship – even self-censorship – requires justification, or at least apparent justification.

On the whole, those who would squelch open inquiry of the egalitarian fiction base their justification on two assertions: 1) Research on racial differences in intelligence has already been scientifically “discredited.” 2) Inquiry into racial differences is immoral.

Point one asserts that the egalitarian premise is absolute truth and hence beyond scientific scrutiny. Point two is indifferent to its truth. Both counsel outrage at the very thought of the research. The claim that the research has been discredited rests largely on extensive misrepresentation that is often embarrassingly crude or casual – for example, contradicting arguments an author never made, while ignoring what was actually stated; attributing policy preferences to an author which are opposite of what the author actually expressed; or simply alleging fraud or gross incompetence without any substantiation whatsoever. The claim that the research is immoral rests squarely on the view that, regardless of the truth, the study itself can only be harmful. In fact, some critics assert (mostly privately) that the greater the truth, the greater the danger it poses to lower-scoring groups, and thus the greater the need to suppress it.

Despite their differences, both justifications for censorship often take the form of demonizing open inquiry by labeling it (and the people who practice it) as “dangerous,” “fascist,” “ideological,” or “racist.” The study of race and intelligence is something, they tell us, that no decent person – let alone a serious scientist – would ever do and that every decent person and serious researcher would oppose. Thus, in a kind of Orwellian inversion, marked by what Gordon calls “high talk and low blows,” the suppression of science presents itself as science itself. Intellectual dishonesty becomes the handmaiden of social conscience, and ideology is declared knowledge while knowledge is dismissed as mere ideology. Neither social policy, nor science, nor society itself is served well by scientific silence on racial differences in intelligence.

Enforcement of the egalitarian fiction has tragic consequences, especially for blacks. The outcomes are even worse than researchers of intelligence predicted two decades ago. The falsehood, because it tries to defy a reality that has conspicuous repercussions in daily life, is doing precisely what it was meant to avoid: producing pejorative racial stereotypes, fostering racial tensions, stripping members of lower-scoring groups of their dignity and incentives to achieve, and creating permanent social inequalities between the races. Enforcement of the lie is gradually distorting and degrading all institutions and processes where intelligence is at least somewhat important (which is practically everywhere) but especially where it is most important (in public schools, higher education, the professions, and high-level executive work). The falsehood requires that there be racial preferences and that their use be disguised, wherever intelligence has at least moderate importance. Society is thus being shaped to meet the dictates of a collective fraud. The fiction is aiding and abetting bigots to a fat greater degree than any truth ever could, because its specific side-effects – racial preferences, official mendacity, free-wielding accusations of racism, and falling standards – are creating deep cynicism and broad resentment against minorities, blacks in particular, among the citizenry.

Enforcement of the egalitarian fiction is not a moral or scientific imperative; it is merely political. It is terribly short-sighted, for it corrupts both science and society. However, just as the fiction is sustained by small untruths, so can it be broken down by many small acts of scientific integrity. This requires no particular heroism. All that is required is for scientists to act like scientists-to demand, clearly and consistently, respect for truth and for free inquiry in their own settings, and to resist the temptation to win easy approval by endorsing a comfortable lie.

Go Linda. Nothing based on a lie will fare well.

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Debunking Nesbit.

Below, I have an article from the Deccan Heights journal. Upon reading it, a reasonably intelligent person would come to the conclusion that nurture has won, 100%, and genetics has very little do with the average human IQ. The article itself is in italics, my comments on each point are in normal type in between.

Contrary to popular belief, recent research has underlined the fact that race differences in IQ are environmental in origin and not genetic.

I’ve noticed this is becoming a common tactic in many areas where scientists disagree. They simply claim victory, even when there’s absolutely no agreement within the community at all. This then gets widely printed, and becomes the ‘default paradigm’, that an overwhelming burden of proof has to be supplied to be shifted, as the media has now effectively sided with the first person to claim that ‘everyone agrees I am right’.  This is seen in the race debate. In spite of the majority of relevant professors (biology, etc) siding with ‘race is real’, because such a fuss was made early on in the middle class media by a few who claimed it was proved to be ‘a social constuct’, everyone now believes that’s what physical anthropologists and geneticists agree on.

There’s quite a bit of research to show the gap is unfortunately genetic.

James Watson, the 1962 Nobel laureate, recently asserted that he was ‘inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa’ and its citizens because ‘all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really.’Watson’s remarks created a huge stir because they implied that blacks were genetically inferior to whites, and the controversy resulted in his resignation as chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. But, was he right? Is there a genetic difference between blacks and whites that condemns blacks in perpetuity to be less intelligent?

The first notable public airing of the scientific question came in a 1969 article in The Harvard Educational Review by Arthur Jensen, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Jensen maintained that a 15-point difference in IQ between blacks and whites was mostly due to a genetic difference between the races that could never be erased. But his argument gave a misleading account of the evidence. And others who later made the same argument – Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray in ‘The Bell Curve,’ in 1994, for example, and just recently, William Saletan in a series of articles on Slate – have made the same mistake.In fact, the evidence heavily favours the view that race differences in IQ are environmental in origin, not genetic.The hereditarians begin with the assertion that 60 per cent to 80 per cent of variation in IQ is genetically determined. However, most estimates of heritability have been based almost exclusively on studies of middle-class groups. For the poor, a group that includes a substantial proportion of minorities, heritability of IQ is very low, in the range of 10 per cent to 20 per cent, according to recent research by Eric Turkheimer at the University of Virginia. This means that for the poor, improvements in environment have great potential to bring about increases in IQ.70% is the given average, 30% environment. Environment does play a role, absolutely. Mostly, decent nutrition is the number one factor. According to research done on the Flynn effect, average IQ’s in the West have gone up by thirty points, but have now ceased to rise. Most of the increase was seen at the bottom part of the IQ range, as welfare stopped the children of the poor starving, and provided them with passably good health care. Also, the herditability of IQ increases as you age, so all studies based on young children are basically pointless. Dr Turkheimer and I agree that genetics set your upper IQ limit, and the environment dictates how close you will get to that.In any case, the degree of heritability of a characteristic tells us nothing about how much the environment can affect it. Even when a trait is highly heritable (think of the height of corn plants), modifiability can also be great (think of the difference growing conditions can make).

True. But this a reference to a study on children. At 7 years old the heritability for middle class kids isn’t that high either, about 30% at that age. The heritability of IQ increases with age, to about 70% in adulthood.

Nearly all the evidence suggesting a genetic basis for the IQ differential is indirect. There is, for example, the evidence that brain size is correlated with intelligence, and that blacks have smaller brains than whites. But the brain size difference between men and women is substantially greater than that between blacks and whites, yet men and women score the same, on average, on IQ tests. Likewise, a group of people in a community in Ecuador have a genetic anomaly that produces extremely small head sizes – and hence brain sizes. Yet their intelligence is as high as that of their unaffected relatives.

The first real deception. It’s brain size relative to non-fat body mass that is important. Otherwise the blue whale would be building spaceships. And you’d lose IQ points every time you gained a few pounds. What the author of the article also fails to mention is that these small headed Ecuadorians all suffer from dwarfism, so there is no mentionable difference in relative brain size between them and anyone else. It’s called Laron’s syndrome. Strange that it’s perfectly acceptable to look at ancient hominid skulls and say, ‘he was less intelligent, because his brain is half the size’, but not okay to think that this might be in some way relevant to modern humans. He’s also avoided mentioning that blacks have a slightly smaller brain (relatively) than whites, and East Asians have relatively bigger brains, something shown by a mass of research. There have been MRI studies giving an accurate measure of living brain size that show a o.4 correlation (pretty high) with IQ scores.

Why rely on such misleading and indirect findings when we have much more direct evidence about the basis for the IQ gap? About 25 per cent of the genes in the American black population are European, meaning that the genes of any individual can range from 100 per cent African to mostly European. If European intelligence genes are superior, then blacks who have relatively more European genes ought to have higher IQ’s than those who have more African genes. But it turns out that skin colour and ‘negroidness’ of features – both measures of the degree of a black person’s European ancestry – are only weakly associated with IQ (even though we might well expect a moderately high association due to the social advantages of such features).

I can’t find this study. I’ll have another look though. Generally in this field, if the study isn’t being trumpeted around it means it won’t stand up well to close scrutiny.

It’s a slightly misleading paragraph. The degree of admixture varies from area to area in America. A lot of the 50% black people won’t look particularly African. Also, IQ is very strongly matched in spouses, a process called assortive mating. The IQ of spouses is usually very close. So a high IQ black (mostly African ancestry) person is more likely to find a mate with the same IQ range in the white or black community, their kids won’t be smart because of  European ancestry. Like marries like. I doubt mixed ancestry has made any real difference to the black American IQ. The mixed race kids in the IQ studies probably had an intermediate score because that’s were most of the overlap between black and white IQs occurs.  

During World War II, both black and white American soldiers fathered children with German women. Thus some of these children had 100 per cent European heritage and some had substantial African heritage. Tested in later childhood, the German children of the white fathers were found to have an average IQ of 97, and those of the black fathers had an average of 96.5, a trivial difference.

Nesbitt doesn’t mention that lower IQ black soldiers were filtered out by the armies testing procedures. I believe the minimum was an IQ of 85 or 89. This would have meant the average black soldier would have had a higher IQ than an average black man on the street. In the nineties, I worked out. Also, it’s been shown that mixed race children with a white mother have a higher IQ than if they had a black mother. While this has been taken by some to mean that nurture has a significant impact, it could very well be that the extra week of gestation in white women makes some difference to the child’s IQ (no, I didn’t make that up), and it’s entirely possible that some genes controlling intelligence are inherited only from one parent, or are expressed differently if inherited from male and female (look up ‘happy puppet’ syndrome, this is also possible). Also, the author completely overlooks that fact that there was real racism in Germany at that time, and for a white woman from recently Nazi Germany to be having sex with a black man, he would have to have something to offer, in resources or some kind of status. Like being an officer, or able to get his hands on food, things that need some smarts.

If European genes conferred an advantage, we would expect that the smartest blacks would have substantial European heritage. But when a group of investigators sought out the very brightest black children in the Chicago school system and asked them about the race of their parents and grandparents, these children were found to have no greater degree of European ancestry than blacks in the population at large.

See former point about assortive mating an IQ. Also, he doesn’t mention these children’s IQs. And, no-one ever said that there are no intelligent 100% African people. That the average is different, does not mean that they don’t range all the way from Forest Gump to Einstein.

Most tellingly, blood-typing tests have been used to assess the degree to which black individuals have European genes. The blood group assays show no association between degree of European heritage and IQ. Similarly, the blood groups most closely associated with high intellectual performance among blacks are no more European in origin than other blood groups.

I admit this is a new one to me, and I can’t find a reference to it anywhere. But also, assortive mating. I don’t believe European DNA has made any real difference to the African American gene pool for IQ. Possibly a lot of the smartest black people in the past ‘married white’, and having their best brains being cherry picked out repeatedly may have contributed to the problem.  Given the overt racism in American, I don’t think it’s likely to have been the unsuccessful,  low IQ black people that married white partners.

The closest thing to direct evidence that the hereditarians have is a study from the 1970s showing that black children who had been adopted by white parents had lower IQs than those of mixed-race children adopted by white parents. But, as the researchers acknowledged, the study had many flaws; for instance, the black children had been adopted at a substantially later age than the mixed-race children, and later age at adoption is associated with lower IQ.

Actually true. You have to be adopted before six months to get the full IQ benefit of adoptive parents. It’s quite likely to do with nutrition, but could be other. It’s possible that stimulation  and decent nutrition in early infancy encourages  better post natal ‘neural wiring’. Again though, it’s a study on children, soooo….

A superior adoption study – and one not discussed by the hereditarians – was carried out at Arizona State University by psychologist Elsie Moore, who looked at black and mixed-race children adopted by middle-class families, either black or white, and found no difference in IQ between the black and mixed-race children. Most telling is Moore’s finding that children adopted by white families had IQs 13 points higher than those of children adopted by black families. The environments that even middle-class black children grow up in are not as favourable for the development of IQ as those of middle-class whites.

Apart from there being less than fifty children in this study… This was a study on children age 7 and 10. Always, studies that show nurture as the winner never follow children into adulthood. When children leave home, their IQ rises or falls to be more like their birth parents. It is also possible for good parents to push a child’s development forward with a good environment and tuition, although this doesn’t make a difference in the long run to IQ scores. It’s also well known that black children mature physically and mentally slightly faster, so childhood studies on IQ are all absolutely worthless. You need to track down adults and test them. Studies on ‘virtual’ twins (nothing to do with any racial study), children adopted and grown up together, showed that adult IQ’s have no more relationship to each other than the IQ’s of total strangers. They did bear a good relationship to the IQ of their birth parents, however. Score one for nature.

Important recent psychological research helps to pinpoint just what factors shape differences in IQ scores. Joseph Fagan of Case Western Reserve University and Cynthia Holland of Cuyahoga Community College tested blacks and whites on their knowledge of, and their ability to learn and reason with, words and concepts. The whites had substantially more knowledge of the various words and concepts, but when participants were tested on their ability to learn new words, either from dictionary definitions or by learning their meaning in context, the blacks did just as well as the whites.

Not exactly the same as IQ. And who were the people tested? They were all students from the same community college, not a random sampling. They would all have had a similar level of intelligence.

Whites showed better comprehension of sayings, better ability to recognise similarities and better facility with analogies – when solutions required knowledge of words and concepts that were more likely to be known to whites than to blacks. But when these kinds of reasoning were tested with words and concepts known equally well to blacks and whites, there were no differences. Within each race, prior knowledge predicted learning and reasoning, but between the races it was prior knowledge only that differed. What do we know about the effects of environment?

That environment can markedly influence IQ is demonstrated by the so-called Flynn Effect. James Flynn, a philosopher and IQ researcher in New Zealand, has established that in the Western world as a whole, IQ increased markedly from 1947 to 2002. In the United States alone, it went up by 18 points. Our genes could not have changed enough over such a brief period to account for the shift; it must have been the result of powerful social factors. And if such factors could produce changes over time for the population as a whole, they could also produce big differences between subpopulations at any given time.

In fact, we know that the IQ difference between black and white 12-year-olds has dropped to 9.5 points from 15 points in the last 30 years – a period that was more favourable for blacks in many ways than the preceding era. Black progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows equivalent gains. Reading and math improvement has been modest for whites but substantial for blacks.

Untrue. There are two different ways of working out the mean IQ. The accurate one (Murray), which only uses people of the same age (cohort), showed no closing of the IQ gap.

Most important, we know that interventions at every age from infancy to college can reduce racial gaps in both IQ and academic achievement, sometimes by substantial amounts in surprisingly little time. This mutability is further evidence that the IQ difference has environmental, not genetic, causes. And it should encourage us, as a society, to see that all children receive ample opportunity to develop their minds.

All the ‘interventions’ I’ve read through only produced temporary results, and were essentially pointless. The author never mentions that Mongoloid people routinely score higher than Europeans, and is very careful to couch the whole item in terms of white-oppressing-black. Whereas, impoverished peasants in East Asia routinely score better than well off black Americans. And average white Americans. Very selective and misleading. The phrase ‘smoke and mirrors’ springs to mind.

I’d just like to add, that from an evolutionary view point, there is absolutely no reason for one population to be homogeneous with another for anything. Selective pressure due to different environments, and new mutations, will make groups vary in what they excel at. At the moment, most of the selective pressure in Africa seems to be to survive malaria, or to reproduce fast enough to make up for the obscenely high child mortality rate from malaria. Everything else has had to take second place.

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IQ and gender

I’ve been reading up on IQ and gender on Wikipedia.

Pretty funny really. If you know a lot about IQ tests and life outcome, it’s not the work of Einstein to see how some of the Lynns of this world will read SAT scores and university IQ tests as proof that women have a lower IQ, as the male average on all of these is a bit higher than female. The reason for the higher score is…that most of the really low IQ people won’t be taking those test, and they are mostly men.

It’s very simple. The lower the IQ, the more likely you are to drop out of school and not get around to sitting an exam that you know you’ll fail abysmally. If your IQ is less than 70 there is a 55% chance that you’ll drop out of high school, at 80 to 70 it’s 35%, at IQs above 120 it’s statistically insignificant (just me then).

The majority people with learning difficulties are male (about twice the number of women). The distribution for male and female IQs are a little different, women are more average, more men at the extreme ranges. From looking at the intakes of gifted schools and Mensa membership, male geniuses seem to be about twice as common as female. It skews the numbers to make male IQ look higher if you test the group minus the lowest perfoming members. If you want to test a population to find the mean, you have to test all of them. Anyone who understands statistics even a bit can see the bias.

Also, the statistics showing men to have heavier brains always fail to account for body fat differences between men and women. This is pretty important, as fat doesn’t require brain power to control it, and your IQ won’t go down  just you gain forty pounds. Long term obesity does seem to have an effect an IQ, but not just simple weight gain. The rough figures are 15% body fat for men, and 25% body fat for women. Correct for that, and there doesn’t seem to be a difference in relative mass. 

(I had this idea about a year ago, as far as I know it was original. I just looked on Wikipedia for a link, and there was my idea in print! Wow, someones either copying me, or it’s so obvious someone else has figured it out. )

There’s the issue of men performing better on the general knowledge tests. Having done some general knowledge quizes  (on a winning family pub quiz team) I can tell you why. It’s because women aren’t, as a rule, that interested in things that don’t directly affect their lives. They are more interested about the people that affect their lives, and have a better memory for other’s personal information.

It’s really that simple. Ask average woman who the prime minister is and you’ve only got an outside chance that she’ll know. Ask her the date of her best friends mums birthday though, and you’ll probably get a correct answer. Who’s the Captain in Star Trek the next generation,? No idea. What are the neighbour’s names? She’ll know most of them right up to the end of the road. It’s not that they store less information, it’s just that the information is of a different type.

As to the tests themselves, there was at least one IQ test where women scored higher than men by a few points. I suppose it depends on what kind of intelligence you think is most relevant and predictive. Women seem to do better academically than SAT scores would predict, and this does suggest that maybe the SATs do have a slight male gender bias.

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